Thursday, July 25, 2019

I Had No Idea!

"Mail call!" I sang out as I came in the house. I had sorted the envelopes while walking down our driveway, culling the junk mail and dropping it in the trash bin outside and stashing mundane-looking items in my purse. Now I was holding aloft 4 or 5 envelopes addressed to my husband.

That had been my routine for the past week or so. Since word of his diagnosis had gotten 'round.

I wasn't surprised when the envelopes addressed  only to my husband began arriving, but he was. In fact, when I presented the envelopes every afternoon, he looked at them somewhat suspiciously, as if I was playing a prank on him.

I handed him that day's collection and went to the kitchen to refresh his glass of cold water. I didn't want to hover; I wanted to give him his privacy as he read messages that, I learned when I read them every evening after he went to bed, contained heartfelt personal messages.

When I returned a few minutes later with his water and some fruit, he looked up at me from where he was sitting on the couch. He looked shyly embarrassed.

"I can't believe all these people are taking the time to send me cards and messages. I had no idea!"

"No idea, what?" I asked, sitting next to him on the couch.

"I had no idea that this many people liked me."

I was shocked by my husband's statement. He was a great guy. Nice to others, non-judgmental, easy-going, quiet (until you got to know him), funny and fun-loving, always willing to help others . . .

Everyone liked him! It was obvious. How could he not know?

The truth is, though, that countless people walk through each day of their life never feeling liked or loved by anyone outside their immediate family. By coworkers or acquaintances. Even by friends.

And that simply breaks my heart. Just as my husband's words broke my heart that afternoon nearly 10 years ago.

If you know my family's story, you realize that my husband's cancer journey didn't end well for those of us left behind.

43 days after his diagnosis, 39 days after his 48th birthday, 13 days before what would have been our 25th wedding anniversary, he passed away.

Today would have been his 58th birthday.

I wish that today you were preparing to come over to our house for a huge birthday party. We'd have his favorites -- white cake with whipped cream frosting and ho-made ice-cream. We'd sing happy birthday and joke & laugh as he tried to blow out 58 candles on his cake. And there'd be lots of teasing about him being an "old man".

Instead of having you over for a party, I have a favor to ask of you. It may be a challenge for you, but that's okay. It's a good challenge -- one that will make you feel great. I promise!

Whether or not you knew my husband, I ask you to do one thing for the next 39 days.

Once a day, every day, somehow convey to someone you know -- preferably a different person each day --  that they bring you joy, that they are important to you.

That you like them.

It doesn't have to be a grand gesture. Often, it's the little things that mean the most. You can do it anonymously, if you're shy.

But do it. Before it's too late.

You don't think you can do that for 39 days? That's okay. Do it once. Today. Then do it again tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, you'll feel moved do it again the next day.

Don't know what to do? I've created a list below to inspire you, and if you have any ideas to add, please share them via a comment to this post. 

Wait! You can't think of 39 people? I've got a list for that as well. Just scroll on down. :)








These are the cards, stored in a wicker basket in my bedroom. Someday I want to read them again. Every single one was a blessing, a gift of love. 










Suggestions to get you started: 

a regular-mail card (that you took the time to go out, buy a card and then mail it speaks volumes itself  ~~ a phone call  ~~ a bouquet of flowers (doesn't need to be large or even store-bought ~~ just tell them ~~ an act of service ~~ stop by for a visit ~~ a hug ~~ a cupcake or other treat ~~ spend time with them doing what they want to do ~~ ask them about their day and really listen to their response ~~ load the dishwasher if it's typically their job ~~ wash their car ~~


But who? Who will you tell?

your spouse ~~ child/grandchild ~~ a parent ~~ a sibling ~~ a coworker ~~ your pastor ~~  your neighbor ~~ that cousin you grew up with ~~ an old classmate you haven't talked to often enough in recent years ~~ an "old" (previous) teacher ~~ a grandparent ~~ the person you sit by in Sunday School or Bible study ~~ kid who mows you lawn ~~ your doctor ~~ the nurse who always puts you at ease when she has to draw blood (yes, I'm that way about needles) ~

22 comments:

  1. What a great idea to honor your husband's memory. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing, it was a blessing.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words. He was a great man!

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  2. So touching...thank you for sharing. It's a great reminder and a loving way to honor your late husband.
    Linda Farrar
    (and for some reason below it says "comment as StainlessIron..." and I can't change it..???) Anyway, beautifully written as always!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Linda, and for stopping by!

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  3. What a lovely idea! I have cards, I just need to take the time to send them. Thank you for encouraging me to just do it.

    And may you find some unexpected joy today as you remember your husband.

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    1. Enjoy blessing people through your cards, Lisa!

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  4. I used to send cards all the time but I've gotten away from it. People told me how it blessed them to get one. I need to get back to doing that.

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    1. Sherry, I always make a point of buying boxed cards when Lifeway or a similar company have them on sale, then putting my address labels on the envelopes right away. For some reason, that seems to make it easier to get them in the mail. lol

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  5. Oh, Patti! Thank you for sharing this post filled with truth that resonates in my heart. I accept the challenge. When my mom or dad experienced illness, they would rejoice over the stack of cards from their church family. One lady tied a bow around a Mason jar and arranged flowers from her yard. Healthy people need encouragement and love, too. I’m praying for my 39 people with joy!

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    1. Jeannie, I'm so glad you stopped by and that you are participating. I just know you will be a blessing to so many people!!

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  6. Such a blessed blog, I will share. I have dear friends who are new widows and I hope this blesses one in particular. HUGS

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by and am glad you're going to reach out to others. You are going to be such a blessing!!

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  7. Inspirational and thank you. I needed a little push

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    1. Enjoy being a blessing and being blessed in return, hardyer! Thanks for taking the time to stop by. :)

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  8. Sometimes, the only encouragement people receive are the smiles you gave them when y'all passed by each other in the Walmart aisle. If you like something someone is wearing, tell her/him. Open a door. Reach for something they can't get. Tell people to have a good day then say a 3 second prayer for them. Try to remember we all need the benefit of the doubt, a little grace and mercy. We are in this Life together.

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    1. You are so right -- it really doesn't take that much to be an encouragement to others. And I know I always feel better after I've extended even the smallest courtesy to someone else. I love your ideas!

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  9. Great idea, Patti! I'm so sorry for your loss. May God continue to bless and sustain you!

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    1. Thank you, Julie -- he was a great man! I'm so glad you stopped by :)

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  10. What a beautiful, heartfelt and loving post.
    It behooves us to take it to heart.
    We never know when it will be our last opportunity to tell someone how we feel about them. Don't miss out. Take the time to make each day count. Your words or act of kindness may be what helps them through a difficult time.

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    1. Your so right that our words of kindness may bless others in ways we will never know.

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  11. Thank you for our lovely cards and precious words!

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    1. My pleasure, Dee Dee. You and Jim are daily in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you so much for stopping by :)

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